Although most knife blocks hold a dozen knives or more, you may be surprised to learn that you only really need four different knives that can take care of all your kitchen tasks. Discover what knives to have on hand and the scenarios in which to use each type. When you’re preparing a beautiful recipe, like beef tenderloin, you want to use each of your knives effectively so your dish looks great on the table!
Chef’s knife: This large blade, usually between 8 and 10 inches long, is generally used for slicing and dicing tasks. The blade is curved so it easily rocks on cutting board to chop evenly and to finely mince garlic or herbs. In most kitchens, this is the knife that gets the most use. You will use it to slice and dice most hard fruits and vegetables, and to slice cooked meat.
Paring knife: This knife looks like a miniature chef’s knife, and it is used for intricate work. Use a paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables, de-seeding a jalapeno for your guacamole, or hulling strawberries from tasty strawberry cake. It’s also the perfect tool for de-veining shrimp to use in a shrimp pasta dish or sectioning citrus fruits as a garnish.
Bread knife: You will obviously use a bread knife for slicing bread, but it has many other uses, too. It is ideal for slicing fruits and vegetables that have a slippery or fragile exterior. The serrations in the bread knife helps it grip and cut through the skin of tomatoes and peppers for your favorite vegetarian recipes. Just make sure to use the bread knife only for slicing, not chopping.
Boning knife: Most knives have a rigid blade, but a boning knife has a light and flexible blade that allows you to cut around bones without hacking into your meat or fish. Use this knife for removing any kind of meat from the bones. A boning knife can also cut through joints and cartilage to help you break down a whole chicken to serve alongside farmers’ market fresh recipes.
Once you know how to use your four essential knives, there is only one more thing you need to do. Keep your knives sharp with a sharpening steel or electric sharpener so they will continue to work well for you!